Wednesday, October 31, 2012


 This is the initial block in of 
Gilbert. I will show in the next 5 images how I progressed in this portrait class taught by Kathy Weber. Her amazing demo was done in 20 minutes making us all feel terribly inadequate. ( I should speak for myself!) I took the next 20 minutes to measure, assess, and take my time to do the drawing.
Back after a short break, I tried to get that large shape of the beret in, noting that I needed to increase the size of it, and his head, quite a bit! I established my initial lights and darks. Remember, this class is the Zorn palette: we use only Titanium White, Yellow Ochre, Cad Red Light, and Ivory Black.
 I was feeling confused by what was happening on the left side of his face, so I put in the background color. I also gave more space behind the ear and to his neck. Kathy noted that his mouth doesn't turn down, as I had it, but is hidden  by his moustache. I was able to see that side of his face better and resolve the lower cheek.
 I added more color to his face, and lightened his forehead, which received the most amount of light. I found the color of his shirt and worked on resizing and replacing the ear. I took photographs after each 20 minute sitting, to see how I was doing.
Final touches include highlight above the eye, the moustache more defined, and a little je ne sais quoi! I feel I am learning alot. Kathy is a wonderful, detailed teacher with both demonstration and explanation.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pink Cloud

Pink cloud: A term used in early recovery when life is amazing, everything is wonderful, you feel high on life, never felt better....then reality sets in and you fall off your pink cloud. Then one day the pink cloud is reality and you understand life is both amazing and terrifying and you are okay with all of it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Self imposed homework

I vow to keep at the self portrait no matter how tough it may seem. I do like certain things about this one. Self imposed homework from the portrait class I'm taking.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Another try at the portrait, more difficult as I moved to the side of our model. I found the biggest adjustment came in the size of her neck, I made it way too thin at first. A little toothpick of a neck. So that was a bit of an ahah moment. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012


The class started with a quick demo where Kathy Weber made it look so easy! Here's my effort, which was not so easy. However, using the limited palette helped to unify the colours. I used a flat soft #8 brush by Creative Mark. I worked on a birch panel, where I gessoed an 8x10 area.I was pleased I was able to make marks then leave them alone!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Zorn Palette

I'm thrilled to be studying again with Kathy Weber, who is teaching a portrait class at The Portsmouth Arts Guild based on the palette of Anders Zorn. Yellow ochre, cadmium red light, titanium white, and ivory black. That's it! Look at the range of colour, and such greys I see in the sea, the clouds. It can be tedious to do colour charts but I found it fascinating, satisfying and almost Zen like in the mixing and the looking, the comparing of values and the direct knife application. It also brought up my perfectionism (arrgh!!), note the freehand size variation of my boxes. A note from The Artist's Handbook by Ralph Mayer: Ivory black is also known as bone black, is the black most widely used by artists, and is made by charring bones.( say what??) It's slow drying, has a brownish undertone, and should never be used full strength for an underpainting, as the next layer of paint will likely crack. Cracking most commonly occurs when the underpainting contains considerably more oil than subsequent layers. "Fat over lean" is a term to describe this process. Mayer suggests the use of Mars Black to avoid this problem. If you click on the colour chart, you can see the colour mixes at the top of each column.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hampton Beach

I painted this during the only clear and dry time of our 3 day camping trip to Hampton Beach, NH. It was early evening, so the light was fading, and I was doing fine until someone walking by commented on the painting looking "so real". I knew I was in trouble, so I got to some serious simplifying! There were blades of grass and wildflowers in the foreground, so they had to go! The result feels much more the mood of the day. But I ask myself, why hadn't I seen that I was getting so fussy?!? How I need to pause, walk away, and then see with new eyes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Coiled in the Sun

When I saw how the sunlight played on this garden hose I knew I wanted to capture that moment. A basic tenet of plein air painting is to find the light or shadow and lay it down early in the development of the painting. The light changes so quickly that you may notice you are modifying and changing it as you go along. This is a tendency that can plague even an experienced painter, trust me! Here is where the camera can come in handy when the light shifts, or disappears for the day.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The tide comes in and the tide goes out

Another look at the ebb of Provincetown's tide. I have lived most of my life by the ocean, on several islands, and yearned for the sounds of crashing waves and the smell of brine when I've been too far away. I am at home by the sea. I find peace at the waters edge. I respect its' forceful power to humble me. It's my "go to" place in nature, what's yours?